The Top 10 Best and Worst of U.S. Politics in 2011

occupy la

Randy Shaw: Occupy Wall Street’s emergence in September raised progressive spirits, as has the unexpected rise of Newt Gingrich as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Here’s my list of the top ten best and worst political events that occurred across the nation in 2011.

We Are the People of the Year

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Tom Degan: This week the spokespersons for the plutocracy have been predicting the end of the movement which is now engulfing the world. The joke’s on them.

My Barack Obama Problem

Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House photographer

Mark Naison: The straw that broke the camel’s back, after many disappointments, was the image of the President regaling a $2,500 a plate dinner in San Francisco while Occupy Oakland was being attacked by an army of police.

What If Obama Taxed the Rich but Never Told Anyone?

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Paul Loeb: Did you know Obama’s health care bill contained a $20 billion a year tax on the richest Americans? I didn’t until I stumbled onto a mention of this the other day.

EU ‘Shocked and Awed’ by GOP Primary Reality TV Show

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Denis Campbell: Yet the entire GOP is deluded into thinking they will regain all three branches of government with a policy of tax cuts for the rich and ignoring the 99%?

A Billionaire Comes A’Whinin’

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Joseph Palermo: Apparently for the captains of industry and high finance it’s not enough for Obama to be a faithful servant of their narrow class interests, they also want him to bend down and kiss their rings.

Blago’s 14-Year Sentence: Overkill

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Julie Driscoll: Yes, Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is guilty as sin, his conviction was just and he should do time – but not more time than your average violent criminal in Illinois.

Pennsylvania: The Kidneystone State

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John Peeler: Joining the conservative chorus against Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the federally sponsored mortgage giants, Gingrich has had trouble explaining his receipt of $1.8 million over several years as a consultant to Freddie Mac.

REVISED: How to Avoid Being a Principled Republican on Taxes

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Robert Reich: Republican leaders are trying to get rank-and-file Republicans to go along with an extended payroll tax holiday — but by paying for it without raising taxes on the very rich.

Sarah Palin on Herman Cain: “Boys Will Be Boys”

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Julie Driscoll: Call me crazy, but shouldn’t the “morality and values” party believe that cheating and lying and deceit and trashing of marital vows and violations of who knows how many biblical rules and regs shouldn’t be reduced to Sarah Palin’s “boys will be boys?”

Will Occupy Fade Away?

Ky Primo writes a note on her view of "Occupy Los Angeles" while her friend Eddie Daniels holds a sign during the protest march in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 15, 2011. The note read "Let us educate ourselves, help educate others on how banks, taxation and trade work. Use the energy to amend the Constitution to separate money and state. Yes we can." (Photo: Ted Fisher)

Mark Naison: If the Occupy movement’s showed us, in words and deeds, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” those attacking the Occupations showed the world, albeit unintentionally “This Is What a Police State Looks Like.”

‘Tis the Season for GOP Exit Strategies

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Michael Sigman: Congressman Ron Paul will pull out of politics entirely. Since his son Rand is also a member of Congress, Ron will become the first politician ever to leave public life so he can spend less time with his family.

Conservatism’s Growing Affection for Ignorance

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Charles Hayes: If we elect a Republican as president in 2012, we deserve the calamity that will follow. After all, “stupid is as stupid does.”

Airline Hell and the Ultimate Sacrifice

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H. Scott Prosterman: Mergers and acquisitions have never been good for consumers in most fields, and the travel industry presents all the downsides these days. Fewer choices lead to lowered service obligations.

Blacks and Occupy: Dividing the Occupy Movement

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Carl Bloice: Occupy activists are thinking deeply about how we might incorporate opposition to racism, class exploitation, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, violence done to the environment and transphobia into the resistance of the 99%.

Occupy Movement’s New Threat: Media Election Coverage

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Randy Shaw: The voters 2012 have heard it all before. Only Occupy offers something new, which is why its agenda of inequality and democracy for the 99% could become the key election issues next year.

Who Will Be the Un-Bloomberg? What Mayors Should Say About Wall Street

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Tom Hayden: In light of the police actions in New York, Berkeley, Oakland, Denver, Portland and beyond—and as massive national demonstrations are about to take place—it’s not too late for the mayors to use their political stature to speak out about the crises befalling their cities.

California, Like Oregon, Has a “Compromised and Inequitable” Death Penalty System

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

Andy Love: The only way to end the death penalty in California is by a ballot initiative, and the statewide signature‑gathering effort to place such an initiative on the November 2012 ballot is well underway.

Why Didn’t Mike McQueary Stop Jerry Sandusky? Why Didn’t Anyone Help Kitty Genovese?

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Joseph De May: McQueary, Paterno, and Penn State administrators had clarity and time to react that most of the Kitty Genovese witnesses simply did not.

Obama Continues Alienating Onetime Core Supporters

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Randy Shaw: I expect many Occupy supporters to spend time from Labor Day to Election Day in 2012 on statewide initiatives seeking to raise taxes on the 1% in order to fund schools and other vital needs.

Back to the Future: Why Republicans Hate the 1960s

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Steve Hochstadt: Republicans avoid talking about their leadership and power in Washington for the past 30 years, because they are fighting to undo the changes in our political system that came earlier, during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The ‘New Nixon’

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Berry Craig: Will religious rightists forgive Gingrich for his serial adultery? He is on his third marriage. Gingrich cheated on wives one and two and ditched them for his paramours.

Labor Must Choose Between Occupy and the Democrats

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Shamus Cooke: The labor movement has a foot in both worlds; one in step with the Occupy Movement and the other with the Democrats, who are working to crush Occupy outright.

What Michele Bachmann’s Mount Rushmore Picks Reveal

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Ivan Eland: Analyzing whom a candidate would add to Mount Rushmore, instead of if they can remember a specific fact when under pressure, might just provide some sort of window on what policies a candidate might pursue if successful.

What Occupy Wall Street Has Accomplished in Two Short Months

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Mark Naison: While Occupy Wall Street and its spinoffs around the nation have certainly not developed “leaders” who articulate its goals to the media or negotiate with public officials, it has already registered a formidable list of accomplishments for a movement this young.

Los Angeles Occupy Encampment Still Stands

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Sharon Kyle: Occupy encampments across the country have had bad encounters with police. Many Occupy encampments are being cleared out. But so far, Occupy LA stands – for now.

The GOP Campaign: It Would Be Funny If It Weren’t So Serious

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John Peeler: So now they’re left with, of all people, Newt Gingrich! This man has so much baggage he needs a train to haul it.

Occupy LA: Writing on the Wall

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Stephen Box: Occupy LA is slowly discovering that City Hall’s welcome mat has disappeared, that the Mayor’s gift of ponchos during the first rainstorm was more of a bon voyage gift than a welcome.

Occupy Wall Street: American as Apple Pie

crosby and nash

Those loud right-wing voices in our political discourse that are trying to make Occupy Wall Street look like something “foreign” to American culture are barking up the wrong tree. When David Crosby and Graham Nash recently showed up at Zuccotti Park for an impromptu sing-along with the protesters they linked OWS with the long American tradition of resistance to [...]

A Passionless Presidential Race?

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Robert Reich: Occupiers and others have had enough.

Yet paradoxically the presidential race that officially begins a few months from now is likely to be as passionless as they come.

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